Many hated it but I love it! Bingers, people are divided about Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the hit Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Cats is the most recent film that polarized the audiences around the world. Among the initial criticisms are: they look terrifying, the movie is pointless, and it is downright absurd. Well, even I when I saw the trailer I thought the same. It is why I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the movie during United International Pictures’ special screening of Cats.

The Jump from Stage to Screen

Okay, how many Broadway adaptations have we seen on-screen so far? We have Les Miserables, Phantom of The Opera, and last year, The Lion King! Creative adjustments were made from the source material to fit the new medium which is film. Still, at the very core of it are the story, the  way the characters were brought to life, and of course, the music. In essence, Cats ticked everything on the box. So, why the hate?

Is it the odd proportions of the characters and the set? Is it the uncanny character designs and costumes? Or is it the bowl-licking of Ian McKellen? If you answered yes to any of it, they are valid but I wouldn’t say enough reasons to hate on Cats. As someone who has seen numerous theatre plays and live stage performances, the film is not much different from them! There are high energy performances, there are musical numbers, spectacular set designs, and elaborate costumes!
Taylor Swift as a Jellicle in Cats. | The Little Binger | Credit: United International Pictures
Taylor Swift as a Jellicle in Cats. | The Little Binger | Credit: United International Pictures
The actors brought in for the film adaptation did deliver as well. In fact, never have I expected to see Ian McKellen and Judi Dench in tight cat body costumes nor see Idris Elba in a furless cat look. Sure, the overall aesthetics of Cats is out of the ordinary and that is good but let me talk more about it later. For now, I want to focus on the performances. Having the Hollywood veterans and even pop icon Taylor Swift in the fold sure does raises interest. They did what they were expected of and that is to sing the tracks from the Broadway musical. Most were not great or as same level as what Jennifer Hudson can do but they are entertaining enough to get you till the end!

Another criticism that I read online was the lack of story. Now this is totally not fair. Anybody who has watched the musical or read the plot of it will know that it is a glorified talent contest. The Jellicle Ball is the annual event in which Jellicles will compete to ascend to the Heaviside Layer. In layman’s term, it is The Voice for those who want to go to heaven. Ridiculous yes but the complete absurdity of it all is what made it worth the watch!
Jennifer Hudson is a Jellicle in Cats. | The Little Binger | Credit: United International Pictures
Jennifer Hudson is a Jellicle in Cats. | The Little Binger | Credit: United International Pictures

Spectacular, bold, and entertaining- these are the words that can fully describe my Cats experience. True, it may not be for all because of its creative choices. But as someone who is familiar with theatre and performing arts, Cats is an experience not to be missed!

Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen
Binge-level: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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Categories: Entertainment